‘Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.’ (Psalm 105:1)
As may also be the case for you, summers to us are synonymous with Christian camps. We both attended camps as teenagers and spiritually benefited in huge ways from them (Graeme was converted on one). So, we both know their immense value and as we’ve aged (but not necessarily matured!) we’ve served on camps and gone on to lead them in the UK and in Moldova.
This summer was no exception, although we did make the executive decision to do far fewer camps than last summer!
In June, we went away with 25 teenagers and eight leaders for a youth camp, located about one and a half-hour’s drive from Chisinau. With temperatures in the mid-30s every day and illness in our family, it was, in many ways, a testing week. However, God was very kind and we have much to thank him for. We had lots of fun including essential daily water fights, 3D football (it probably wouldn’t pass a UK camp risk-assessment to be honest!), a camp-wide game of ‘assassin’ and toasting marshmallows around the bonfire (a first for some of the Moldovans). Whilst pretty much all the teenagers were unbelievers, around two-thirds of them were known to us through our English classes, our church youth groups or came on camp last year. This meant that we could go deeper in the talks and discussion groups and build on well-established friendships. Praise God that two of the teenagers professed faith at the end of the week; others took bibles and three have been coming regularly to our church services since. Pray for us and the other leaders as we ‘follow up’ the teenagers and seek to continue to share the good news with them.
At the beginning of July we were joined by our nephew Ben as we headed up to Cobani, a village in the north west of Moldova which we regularly visit, for a football camp and an English camp. We were supporting our dear friends Victor, Lili and their family who do wonderful work in that village, loving young and old alike and sharing the good news as they meet the many needs of that community.
In the mornings, Graeme and Ben ran a football camp for 30 children. As you can see from the photo, the setting is rather beautiful but the football match could be interrupted at any time by a herd of cows looking for some fresh grass! Every day, Graeme did an overview of the Gospel story through the Bible.
In the afternoon, we ran an English camp for 15 children. Alongside English lessons, Graeme did a short message focusing on who Jesus was and why he came, followed by some craft or games. We also managed to find time for a couple of youth groups over the week which included some talks and lots of games of basketball!
Life in the village is very different to life in Chisinau. It is incredibly difficult due to the poverty. People work very hard living off the land and some people’s only source of water is from a well. Due to recent dreadful weather, some of the roads were also impassable. We got to experience village life first hand after a terrible storm at the beginning of the week left us without electricity and running water (and therefore working toilets!) for three days... It was certainly an eye-opener for us Westerners who are used to utility companies sorting things out pretty promptly.
Despite that, we had a wonderful week in Cobani and really enjoy serving alongside our friends there and learning from their servant-heartedness. Please pray for deep, long-lasting fruit in the hearts of the children and teenagers, for God’s glory.
Our other big news, which you may already know, is that we are expecting baby number three around Christmas. Bequi is especially thankful that the sickness and nausea seems to have mostly passed and she is feeling more like herself again. Please pray for all of us with this big, unexpected life change. We have lots of things to sort out so would appreciate your prayers for God’s wisdom and guidance.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers, love and support. It means so much to us! We hope you enjoy some rest this summer.
Graeme, Bequi, Iona and Josh Innes
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